Having an espresso machine is an excellent investment that can last you up to five years or longer. However, if you don’t know how to maintain your unit correctly, you could end up with a not-so-delicious cup of espresso, or worse, you can also cause damage to the machine.
In this article, we’re going to cover all the ins and outs of cleaning your espresso maker so you can enjoy it for years to come. Keep reading to learn more.
How to Clean an Espresso Machine
To get the best espresso and a long-lasting machine, you need to clean it regularly and adequately. Your device needs daily maintenance, deep cleaning, and descaling, three topics we’ll explain shortly. Before you can jump into cleaning it, though, it’s best to understand your machine’s different pieces.
Parts of an Espresso Machine
Espresso makers aren’t like your everyday coffee pot. They have many parts that work together to perform the complex brewing process that makes espresso. Each piece has a specific function that helps extract the espresso from the beans and filter out any remaining particles.
The reservoir with the long handle. It looks similar to a small cup.
The removable cup or disk that holds the espresso beans, similar to a regular coffee filter.
A basket with no holes that are used for cleaning. It’s also known as a blind disk.
A round receptacle releases hot water that the portafilter attaches to, also known as the group head.
The round rubber gasket that goes on top of the group.
Also called a shower screen, this is a fine mesh which the hot water goes through.
The glass container that catches the brewed espresso.
The small tank that holds the water that brews the espresso.
Steam arm and nozzle
The tubes that the steam gets pushed through.
The metal base and grate that holds the carafe and collects any espresso.
Espresso machines need daily maintenance to ensure they are running smoothly at all times. This isn’t anything that requires you to take your device apart like deep cleaning. Instead, it is a simple routine that can make all the difference in your machine’s longevity, especially if you use it daily.
- Ensure you dump all the used espresso grounds from the basket after every shot and rinse it out.
- Wipe the basket with a dry cloth after it’s been thoroughly rinsed.
- Attach the machine’s portafilter to the group and rinse completely with water for a few seconds.
Even with daily maintenance, your espresso machine still needs a deep cleaning now and then. Oils and debris build up in the various parts and can affect your espresso’s taste and consistency and the performance of your machine.
If you have a daily shot of espresso, this is something you’ll want to do at least once a week, but some makers recommend a deep cleaning after a specific number of shots. Check your owner’s manual to verify how often you should do a deep cleaning.
- Combine the proper ratio of espresso machine cleaner to water per the instructions.
- Next, clean the following removable parts: the portafilter, basket, and group gasket. Scrub each piece with a nylon brush or a specialized group brush and the cleaning solution. Rinse out with warm water afterward.
- Now it’s time to remove the screen, which you can do by hand, but some machines require a screwdriver. Once removed from the group, scrub both sides and the inside of the group.
- Many manufacturers recommend that you backflush or backwash the espresso maker by putting the blind basket in the portafilter and attaching it to the group. Once set up, run the espresso machine cleaner solution through it several times for about 5 seconds each. Check your manual to verify this step, as some don’t require this.
- Remove your blind basket from the portafilter and rinse both parts thoroughly with warm water.
- Clean the steam arm by flushing hot water through it and completely wiping the outside.
- Remove the drip tray and grate and clean it. You can use hot water and regular dish soap for this step.
- Finally, wipe the outside of the machine with a clean cloth.
Unless you use distilled water in your espresso maker, you will need to descale your machine at least once a year. That’s because tap water has high mineral content, which will eventually lead to limescale build up in your unit and ensure your machine runs smoothly year after year.
Here’s how you descale yours.
- Dissolve a descaler solution in your machine’s water reservoir.
- Leave the solution sitting for 20 minutes.
- Turn on the espresso maker and force a half cup of solution into the portafilter and a quarter cup through the steam wand.
- Turn off your machine and let it sit for 20 more minutes.
- Turn the device back on and flush the solution through it.
- Flush clean water through the espresso maker to rinse out the remaining espresso machine cleaner powder.
How Do You Use Espresso Cleaner?
Cleaning it correctly means having the right espresso machine cleaner powder. This is the solution that you mix with water when doing a deep cleaning and can be used to descale your espresso machine too. There are several different espresso clean manufacturers, and the ratio of water to the solution can vary. Generally, it takes about 1 tsp of powder with 32 oz of hot water to eliminate any coffee oils machine.
Make Your Espresso Machine Last Longer
Espresso machines are little troopers that can last five years or even 20, but the oils, particles, and minerals can quickly build up, ruining shots of espresso and your machine. That’s why it’s essential to follow a routine of daily cleanings, deep cleanings, and descaling. Now that you know how to clean your espresso maker properly, you can extend your machine’s life and enjoy all the fresh shots of espresso your heart desires.